Missions Landscape

About Global Missions

Establishing Churches

The second element in the Great Commission is the establishment of the Visible Church with its ordinances of government, discipline and worship (baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit).

As Baptism is the initiatory rite of membership in the Visible Church, this command of our Lord is rightly understood as implying the divine requirement (later explicitly revealed in the New Testament Epistles) that converts won through evangelism be gathered into visible congregations of the Church, not only as a mark of their separation from the world, but for the glory of God and the spiritual benefit of the believers themselves, by social worship of God, instruction and exhortation in divine truth, mutual encouragement and sympathy, and other blessings of the communion of saints.

Any type of missionary work which tends to disregard or minimize the Scriptural emphasis on the importance of the Visible Church is, to that extent, unbiblical, and to be avoided. Merely to win souls for Christ is not an adequate missionary aim; it is only the first element of the task. Those won to the Lord are to be gathered into Scripturally constituted Church congregations. The product of missionary work should be a Church which is Scriptural in its doctrine, worship, government and discipline. The view that the Church may have a different or lower or less comprehensive ideal of Scriptural purity for the Church on the foreign mission fields than that held by the home Church is a false and harmful notion. Truth is not affected by geographical, racial or national distinctions. The same Bible which is the supreme standard of the home Church is also the supreme standard for all Churches, wherever located, throughout the world.

This Board therefore expressly rejects the idea of a double standard or aim, as if the Church's task in the foreign fields were only to win men to be Christians, while in the home field we are also to seek to win men to be Calvinists and Presbyterian. We believe that to be a Calvinist and a Presbyterian is no more than to be a consistently Biblical Christian, and we regard it as our duty to seek to win men to this position, whether at home or abroad.

Baptism in Sudan